The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

Uh Oh, Shots Fired

And just like that, all is flux once again, with the shots fired closer to home this time. Vince Carter is now a Magician.

I just got in the door from a run and I’m about to run off again to go watch the almighty draft, so I’ll have a lot more to say about this later, but my quick reaction assuming this is finalized is- I like it, and for both teams. Probably. There’s one major caveat for both sides.

If the Sorcerers use this as an excuse to let Hedo walk and figure they’ve got him replaced I suspect they’ll be disappointed for a variety of reasons, but if this is an addition and not a substitution, then it’s a double win: they add VC, and they sort out their who’s-out-real-starting-PG deal all in one move. I think VC has hit a point in his career as well when he’s become underrated- he’s still a fine shooter which will fit Orlando perfectly, and as such he’s adjusted much better than you might suspect to the ebbing of his athleticism; it’s been almost a miniature version of Jordan’s late-stage evolution. He’s also shown some real fire at times on the defensive end and some important leadership skills, even in the context of a young team going nowhere. I know as a fan I ended up with a lot more respect for VC after he’d played for a team I root for, which I did not expect to happen. I think he’s got his mind right now, and if he’s the- what- second or third best player on your team as he might be in Orlando, you’re a very good basketball team indeed. And as Hollinger mentions as well in his ESPN piece, Ryan Anderson might even be of some use to the Conjurers as the throw-in here- he’s tall, he works hard, he can really shoot. He probably won’t get much burn at first, but if someone goes down with an injury he can fill in and do a job for a while.

For the million and first time, I need to stop underestimating the Magic. Sorry guys.

For the Nets, well, the caveat is this- is this a move to open up cap space to continue the rebuilding program- which is absolutely the right move- or is it purely an attempt to shrink the payroll while the Brooklyn drama unfolds? I simply don’t know the answer to this so I won’t speculate much, other than to say that I don’t think Rod and Kiki would associate themselves with a team that didn’t have some plans to compete within at least the middle term. As for the idea that this sets the Nets back in their development as a team, I don’t buy that for a minute. Carter may have aged better than expected, but he was still a 32 year old wing player in his decline phase who’s not one of the 20 best players in the league. The Nets weren’t a playoff team with him, they won’t be a playoff team without him most likely, and if they’d kept building around him they’d have been running to stay in place as he declined in time with their adding pieces. Players like Carter- or Ray Alllen, or Shaq at this point, or Lamar Odom, etc. etc.- have their best and most important role in the league as lieutenants on contenders, not captains on also-rans. The deal the Nets got here was, I’d say, acceptable if not overwhelming. I’ve never had much time for Skip’s game, but as a backup PG/third guard for a year who might be deadline trade bait, he’s certainly acceptable. Battie is the starting 4 on the Who The Fuck Is You All-Stars. Courtney Lee is a decent offensive player and hapless defender who looks like he’s in the most athletic and cheapest phase of a decent career as a long-time backup guard, which is perfectly fine for what it is.

All of which is to say that for the Nets this was all about money/cap room and the players it may represent in the future. Time will tell how that works out, but as a fan, for my part I’d rather live in hope of building a contender than live in hope of barely scraping into the 8th slot next year. Perhaps I’m alone in this, but I’d just as soon see the Nets win 20 games next year, develop guys like Brook Lopez and whoever we get tonight, and have a chance at winning the lottery than see them win 35ish games again. They were a fun team to watch and I enjoyed last season, but that only lasts for so long. This way, it’s established early in the offseason that this is now unquestionably the Devin & Brook show, and the team can really begin to evolve around that nucleus. Sometime you have to go through hell to get to heaven and get worse to get better in this league, and whether the motive is understanding of that or sheer parsimony, the Nets seem to be walking that path right now. I approve.

And finally, as a fan, a big thanks to Vince Carter for his time as a Net. Sometimes he drove us nuts, sometimes he inspired us, but he left us with some great memories (last year’s game in Toronto against the Raptors comes to mind) and left on good terms, and played pretty darn hard and well while with the team. I wish him all the best in Orlando, and there’s a little part of me that’ll be rooting for the Necromancers in the playoffs next year.

(Especially if they can knock Cleveland out again….)

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June 25, 2009 - Posted by | Other NBA, The Nets

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